Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said Tuesday after formally endorsing fellow Democrat Rushern Baker for governor that he won’t speak negatively about incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan and Leggett are beginning sensitive negotiations with Amazon to try to bring the company’s second headquarters to Montgomery County—the only site in Maryland to make the company’s shortlist of 20 possible locations.
Hogan and Leggett have both said they’re working cooperatively to try to get the company to pick a site in the county. Leggett said Tuesday that landing Amazon would benefit the whole state.
“The governor and I have a very good relationship,” Leggett said. “He knows that I’m a very proud Democrat and that Rushern is my former [law school] student. I think [Hogan] somewhat expects this and I think it’s going to be a very competitive race.
“But I believe sincerely that we are going to make a very strong effort [for Amazon],” Leggett continued. “And I think the governor realizes, politics aside, that Amazon is something that we very, very much want to have in the state because it would be in all our interests.”
Hogan on Monday detailed a $5 billion-plus incentive package for Amazon that would include about $3 billion in tax credits and $2 billion in yet-to-be-detailed transportation improvements. The proposal is now being considered by the Maryland General Assembly, which would have to approve it.
Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan, wrote in an email Tuesday that the governor “has immense respect for County Executive Leggett and greatly appreciates his kind words.”
“The governor enjoys a great working relationship with the county executive, and looks forward to continuing their successful partnership moving forward, including working together to bring Amazon’s HQ2 home to Montgomery County,” Chasse wrote.
Leggett said Tuesday he endorsed Baker because he believes the Prince George’s County executive has done a good job leading the county. Baker was a former student of Leggett’s at Howard University School of Law when Leggett was a dean and professor there in the mid-1980s.
“I’m speaking for, in support of Rushern,” Leggett said. “I’m not speaking against anyone, I don’t do that.”
If Baker were to beat out the other six leading Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the June 26 primary, he would face Hogan in the November general election.
Leggett said he gives Hogan “a great deal of credit for the things he’s done right,” but he believes in Baker. “I believe in the leadership he provides and I’m going to speak very positively about that. I will not speak negatively about the governor,” he said.
Since taking office in 2014, Hogan and Leggett have worked together to move the light-rail Purple Line toward construction and, with local state legislators, to fund other major infrastructure projects in the county, such as the Watkins Mill Interchange that broke ground in July. Construction on the 16-mile Purple Line, which will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton, began last year.
Leggett, who is finishing his third term in office this year, is term-limited and must step down at the end of the year. Leggett said before the term limits vote that he didn’t plan to seek re-election.